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Fly Ball Photography


csurry 12 9.2k 92
7 May 2012 11:17AM
Just wondering if anyone has done any photography of fly ball.

I have the opportunity in a couple of weeks time to have a go at this with a club near to where I am working. Since I will have to take my camera equipment with me to work for the week I want to limit the amount I carry. Therefore looking for some information of best focal length and any other tips if people have them.

Initially I will start with one of their training sessions, so apart from not being in the way close access should not be a problem.

Thanks
Cheryl

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Paul Morgan e2
13 16.1k 6 England
7 May 2012 12:11PM

Quote:initially I will start with one of their training sessions, so apart from not being in the way close access should not be a problem


Flyball what`s that then, do you mean you want to participate ?
MikeRC e2
9 3.5k United Kingdom
7 May 2012 12:16PM

Quote:Just wondering if anyone has done any photography of fly ball.


I don't think Cheryl wishes to participate Smile ....but I too am wondering what it is .
mohikan22 10 2.3k 1 United Kingdom
7 May 2012 12:19PM
MikeRC e2
9 3.5k United Kingdom
7 May 2012 12:21PM
...I suspect it may be photo's of dogs running/jumping to catch a ball/frizbee ?
...if It's not...It should be.
MikeRC e2
9 3.5k United Kingdom
7 May 2012 12:23PM
....near enough....I look foreward to the pics Cheryl.
stomp 13 203 England
7 May 2012 12:33PM
Positioning is paramount when taking flyball images. That dictates what lens you use.

Try to get into the ring and pick an obstacle to concentrate on. Don't try to cover the whole course as this will end in a mediocre set of images.

You may be surprised by the speed of the dogs so fast shutter speeds are the name of the game. However the departure points from certain obstacles impose an area where the dogs have slow down considerably and on a dull day may be the place the emphasis on.

Steve
csurry 12 9.2k 92
7 May 2012 12:41PM
Sorry yes, it is where the dogs run an obstacle course and then trigger the release of a ball from a box for them to catch and run back to their owner.

Don't think I'd make a very good participant Wink

Thanks Steve. If I employ my normal technique for wildlife I will spend some time just observing to work out the best place to try to capture the image, but just wondered if the layout of courses is fairly standard if there is a prime position.

I'll be trying as much as possible to isolate the dog from the surroundings. I know this means I am making it difficult for myself, but then I like a challenge. Think 200-400 will give me scope to be far enough away to not be a nuisance, whilst being able to "frame-fill". Either that or the 70-200 + convertor (with the AF slow down taken in to account).

I'll probably get more than one opportunity over the next few months, so technique will be refined as we go along

Thanks
Hali 3 44 Scotland
7 May 2012 1:46PM

Quote:Positioning is paramount when taking flyball images. That dictates what lens you use.

Try to get into the ring and pick an obstacle to concentrate on. Don't try to cover the whole course as this will end in a mediocre set of images.

You may be surprised by the speed of the dogs so fast shutter speeds are the name of the game. However the departure points from certain obstacles impose an area where the dogs have slow down considerably and on a dull day may be the place the emphasis on.

Steve



I think the above relates more to agility than flyball (though much still applies).

Flyball is set up so that there are two parallel courses with one team using each. Each 'course' consists purely of 4 equal-height hurdles in a straight line with the ball releaser at the end. The dogs are released at one end, jump the 4 hurdles, collect the ball then turn and go back over the same 4 hurdles. There are usually 4 dogs per team so the 2nd dog starts as soon as the 1st has crossed the line.

Best angle would probably be looking straight down the course. However, if you are facing the ball releaser (dogs moving away from you on the way out and towards you on the way back), you are likely to get in the way of the competitors. And at the other end, there is usually someone standing checking the release of the ball, so you won't get a straight head-on shot from that direction either.

Action round the ball releaser itself used to be great interest as the dogs used to have to stamp on a pad which sent the ball shooting up into the air and the dog had to catch the ball. But for safety reasons they've now stopped this and the ball is fixed in place for the dog to retrieve.

So you may have to shoot side-on rather than face on. The other trouble with side-on is that you will have the 'other lane' in the background (although if the dog you're shooting is in the lead, the owner probably wouldn't mind seeing the other lane with the other dog behind!)

I'm not sure whether I'm allowed to put a link to a youtube video (if not you can just do a search) but here's a clip of the finals at this year's crufts to give you an idea what its like and possible shot positions.







The dogs are very fast and often, if not outside, the sport is done in badly lit barns and such places.

oh - and take some earplugs. Flyball dogs generally get over-excited and can bark like mad.

Look forward to seeing the results :smile:
csurry 12 9.2k 92
7 May 2012 8:21PM
Thanks Fiona.

Initially I'll be photographing one of their training sessions.

Just wanting to try some different things photographically and like the motor racing I will be shooting next weekend the opportunity came up through a colleague at work. Therefore apart from pressure that I put on myself to achieve some quality images there is none from the owners as such.

Will check out the video later. Not sure that the doges can be any quicker than puffins in flight and they are a little larger Wink
Hali 3 44 Scotland
7 May 2012 8:37PM
I hadn't seen your portfolio when I replied - but having looked afterwards, I'm sure you'll have no problems with the speed or any other aspect!

Its bound to be much easier than wildlife - you'll know exactly where the dogs are going to be and when.
cattyal e2
9 6.4k 6 England
7 May 2012 8:42PM
I've just watched the clip and it's rather sad to see the new fixed ball method - it was so much more fun when the ball actually flew into the air Sad

I thought the same as Hali - I can't see you having too much trouble with this new experience Cheryl Smile
Hali 3 44 Scotland
7 May 2012 9:00PM

Quote:I've just watched the clip and it's rather sad to see the new fixed ball method - it was so much more fun when the ball actually flew into the air Sad

I thought the same as Hali - I can't see you having too much trouble with this new experience Cheryl Smile



I agree, it was more fun to watch, though I guess there must have been sufficient injuries for them to need to change it. The skill now is in the turn, a bit like a swimmer - the dog should get the ball and turn in one smooth motion, pushing off from the box on the way back. Could still make for some good shots - if you know which way the dogs are going to turn - I don't know whether they train them all to turn a particular way or whether the dogs choose their own direction.
wheresjp 7 102 United Kingdom
7 May 2012 11:39PM

Quote:I hadn't seen your portfolio when I replied - but having looked afterwards, I'm sure you'll have no problems with the speed or any other aspect!

Its bound to be much easier than wildlife - you'll know exactly where the dogs are going to be and when.



Agreed! Was just about to write a lengthy response but decided to check the portfolio first. I think you could/should give me tips!

Nice Portfolio by the way.
csurry 12 9.2k 92
8 May 2012 8:31AM
Thanks all.

I expect to find every new photographic experience challenging first time around. Then it is about analysing the shots that worked and learning from each opportunity. Thanks for the information much appreciated, and the comments on my portfolio.

From what the person said they are still releasing a ball to catch. Will check it out. However, one good tip is that the owner will know the way the dog will turn so that should help with preparation for the shot.

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